The European countries’ decision to supply Ukraine with Leopard 2 series third-generation MBTs and sustain the tanks is being fulfilled through Lithuania. However, this isn’t the first time Lithuania has repaired the foreign ground vehicles supplied to Ukraine. The country also repaired and sent back two damaged German-made PzH2000 155 mm SPGs.
Main battle tanks are frontline weapons of war meant to be able to take a certain amount of damage and come back to the base for repairs. Thus, supplying a country with Russian-origin main battle tanks and the spare parts for said tanks isn’t enough on its own.
Until a local infrastructure is developed for the maintenance of Leopard 2 or any other western-made tank, a provider is needed in the consortium. This also applies to other foreign ground vehicles supplied or to be provided to Ukraine.
Despite Ukraine’s initial strangeness to the Western-supplied MBTs, the country has already begun modifying some of the Leopard 2s with Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA) and other improvised means of protection. With time and the needed technical support, Ukraine can achieve the capability to sustain its new fleet of tanks on its own.